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June 2011

Partner Up!



Small-group workouts once again made ACE’s list for this year’s top fitness trends. Partner training is a great complement to small-group training, as certain exercises can be time-savers, and can be a great option for trainers with limited gear.

“You can make a few medicine balls go a long way when shared by two people,” says Ryan Halvorson, associate editor for IDEA Fitness Journal and certified personal trainer.

Partnering people up for both small-group training and during group fitness classes creates cohesion within the group. “Pairing participants gives them an opportunity to become part of the group as opposed to staying an anonymous individual,” explains Halvorson. “This also improves adherence because absences are noticed by the group, which makes individuals more hesitant to blow off class.”

Then there’s the fun factor.

“I like partner exercises,” says Kerry Chaffee, group fitness participant in Barre, Vt., “because it 'shakes up the boring’ and makes exercising more fun when you are working as a team with a buddy and giggling the whole time. It also makes you work harder, because you don't want to screw up and, say, drop the medicine ball on their head or foot as you’re tossing the ball around.”

“And,” adds Kristin Ferry, also from Barre, Vt., “it also brings a little friendly competition into play!”

Halvorson agrees. “In many cases, individuals performing solo exercises will use the ‘just get by’ approach—meaning they will only do the bare minimum. When working with a partner of equal or greater physical capacity, an individual inherently works harder in order to keep up.” 

Partner Exercises

Here are a few exercises you can begin to incorporate into your training sessions or classes. As you become more comfortable pairing people up, feel free to get creative and design some of your own.

For ease of communication, the following exercises are described as though you are one of the partners.


For more partner exercises and a full partner workout visit the ACE Get FitTM Web site.



myersCarrie Myers has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and has been a freelance writer for more than 11 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Squeezing Your Size 14 Self into a Size 6 World: A Real Woman's Guide to Food, Fitness, and Self-Acceptance and presents, teaches and trains in N.H. and Vt.


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